This blog post has been written in support of Deaf Awareness Week 2019: Celebrating Role Models. You can find out more about Deaf Awareness Week and read blog posts by our other role models here.
Please scroll down for a transcript of the video.
Hello my name is Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman .I work at the University of Manchester where I carry out research with deaf people who have dementia and their families. I’ve worked at the university for 9 years doing research that includes asking questions of the deaf community and deaf people with dementia about their experiences .’I’ve also explored what happens in their life after diagnosis, the care and support they received – the deaf person with dementia, but also for the carers. Everyday is different and varied. I have quite a variety of responsibilities that I undertake in the course of my work. One day I could be working with the deaf community, and providing information about dementia, another day I could be writing a reports for funding to support the work that I do, and on another day I would be writing an article for a mainstream journal about the Deaf Community’s experiences of living with dementia.
I do experiencing challenges in the work that I do; one challenge thinking about the way that I present my information so that it’s clear. Another is how to ensure that mainstream providers support carers, while at the same time having an understanding about deaf issues, to ensure that they meet the needs of the deaf community. I’ve attained many personal achievements through this work that I do. The biggest achievement was receiving my PhD in 2016. My thesis was on The Deaf Community’s experiences living with dementia. My thesis wouldn’t have been completed without deaf people telling me their experiences and their stories of living with dementia. So I really appreciate all the deaf people that have contributed to my thesis, and my achieving my PHD.
I believe deaf awareness week is amazing opportunity to understand more about deaf people. They can range from people with hearing loss to sign language users; there’s a wide variety of deafness, and sign language users. Sign language users are respected and valued citizens of the UK and the world. Recognition of this group is really important so Deaf Awareness week gives us the opportunity to promote information about this important message. The charity SignHealth. Is a unique charity in the deaf worlds I’m very proud to be a trustee of SignHealth, which meet specific needs of deaf people who have a number mental health issues, go through domestic violence, and deaf people who have residential care needs. SignHealth delivers excellent services to meet the needs of this group of people. Without SignHealth many deaf people would be isolated, not receive support, and not have their needs met in their own language their culture and with dignity. SignHealth is truly an amazing charity.